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Heather and her Basotho blanket

A Basotho Blanket (Lockdown Day 83)

It’s Day 83 of the South African lockdown. In celebration of this entirely unremarkable and insanely high number, I bought myself a Basotho blanket. I am not a therapy shopper; I generally don’t self-soothe through buying stuff. I also don’t have much spare cash at the moment. But for the past several weeks, as the lockdown drags on and the temperatures dip ever lower, my instincts have been driving me to buy a Basotho blanket. Those inner voices reached a crescendo yesterday — the coldest day in Joburg since August 2012 — when I woke up feeling like I simply must get into my car and drive the 45 minutes to Aranda Textiles in Randfontein. But alas, yesterday was a public holiday and the blanket factory was closed. So today was the day. I have blogged about Basotho blankets more than once (see here and here), and my post about a previous visit to Aranda Textiles — where all Basotho blankets are manufactured — is one of my most popular of all time. (Thanks to Black Panther, Basotho blankets became world-famous in 2017. People who google the blankets, which are nearly impossible to find outside Southern Africa, often find 2Summers.) […]

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Sculptures and paintings in Ellis House

#Gauteng52, Week 13: Art and Design at Ellis House

Welcome to Week 13 of my #Gauteng52 challenge, for which I will visit and blog about a new place in Gauteng Province every week for 52 straight weeks. This week I visit Ellis House, a collection of art and design studios in New Doornfontein. Marie-Lais and I pulled into the ground-floor parking lot at 23 Voorhout Street and wandered aimlessly, trying to figure out how to get into the building. “Go there,” the security guard said, pointing around a corner. The guard followed us around the corner and gestured toward a tiny door leading to a hidden staircase. I’m not sure we ever would have found it. We climbed a couple of flights, walked up and down empty hallways, struggled to find another human. After a few false starts, we caught the elevator to the fifth floor and discovered a hidden artistic wonderland. The Art Eye Gallery and Studio on the fifth floor of Ellis House. New Doornfontein, an industrial section of downtown Joburg bordering Ellis Park and Troyeville, has become a new artistic frontier, with Ellis House leading the way. I’d been hearing about this building for a while but I wasn’t prepared for the beautiful coolness I found inside. Looking over New […]

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Ray in Hlamvu shirt

7 Reasons to Love Hlamvu Afrocentric Boutique

UPDATE (November 2017): Hlamvu is no longer located in Greenside. There is currently a Hlamvu shop in the Commissioner Street Pop-Up Arcade, and Hlamvu products are also available online. As I’ve written before, I am not a fashionable person. There are many great South African fashion blogs out there and this isn’t one of them, so I generally stay away from writing about clothes and focus on the things I’m good at — like eating and instagramming and storytelling. But I’ve recently come across a boutique that I particularly love and I want to tell you about it. Hlamvu Afrocentric Boutique in Greenside.  There are many things I love about Hlamvu Afrocentric Boutique: 1) Hlamvu is uniquely African. Hlamvu’s founder and designer, Liflet Ncube, is originally from Zimbabwe. She founded the company in South Africa and the fabric she uses is from Ghana. The result is a unique explosion of West African and Southern African style. Colorful clothes and handbags for sale in Hlamvu. 2) It’s conveniently located (for me). Hlamvu is in Greenside, which is almost in Melville. I love having such a fashionable shop less than 10 minutes’ drive from my house. 3) It’s affordable. People often complain about how expensive clothes […]

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